It all started off innocently enough. I was browsing Facebook when a friend’s post recommended a new café in New Smyrna Beach (NSB). This was late one evening and my wife had already gone to bed so I could not even tell her about it. The post, read, “The best breakfast joint I've been to in my life (and I've been around the world a few times) and it's just 5 min away from home.” That post was telling me I would have to try this new café.
I woke up the next morning with one thing on my mind. I wanted to go try the Wake Up Café in NSB that my friend had recommended. Now keep in mind that we live in Merritt Island and the journey to the café would be about an hour and a half drive. I suggested it to my wife and she immediately confirmed what a great idea it was.
After a leisurely drive we made it to NSB and the parking lot of our newly discovered “breakfast joint.” As we approached the front door we could see one couple eating outside on the porch. When we opened the door there was just one booth left open, obviously waiting for us.
It was one of those places. You know, the ones that immediately strike you as something good. The room was bright and clean, the walls were covered with interesting art. The south wall included photos taken by local high school students. We found out later they are available for café patrons to purchase. There was a quiet buzz of conversation in the air and the wait staff was scurrying up and down the isles dishing out incredibly good looking food and good service.
I mentioned to our waitress, Julie, that this was our first visit and we might take some time to view the menu. She quickly replied, “Take your time.” She then pointed out a small card slipped in the condiments tray. She indicated that it tells the story of the Wake Up Café.
I learned from the card that the Wake Up Café name came from the “morning” feeling and atmosphere of the café with intent to harmonize with the ocean and river surroundings. The intent is carried out beautifully.
I also learned where the Argentina and Spanish components on the menu came from. The café is owned and operated by David and Jenny Stach. David is a native of Argentina where he grew up in the restaurant business.
David was running his own restaurant business in his hometown when the Argentina economy took a nosedive. Unemployment was at 45 percent, banks were closing and it resulted in him losing his business.
In an effort to find work and support his son, David made what would become a fortuitous decision to move to Spain. His decision paid off in two important ways. He found work as a cook and he met his future wife, Jenny.
Then, yet another set of circumstances moved David and Jenny closer to their current adventure with the Wake Up Café. Stateside, Jenny’s parents had made a move from Ohio to NSB, but unfortunately Jenny’s dad suffered a serious stroke.
Now, after what they describe as “five glorious years” in Spain, the couple decided to move home to NSB and take care of the folks. Jenny, with recollections of vacations spent in NSB and David, who had never been to the US and spoke very little English, began a new chapter in their lives in 2007.
In addition to helping out at the resultant, Jenny is a Spanish teacher at NSB High School. David obtained his American citizenship in July 2013. The couple has added two children, Simon and Olivia to their family.
They say they like the small town atmosphere of NSB, a community where the family restaurant is still a mainstay. It is a place where neighbors still look out for one another and a trip to town will often result in an encounter with friends.
Open daily from 6:30 to 2:30, the Wake Up Café serves traditional American cuisine with a splattering of Spanish and Argentina dishes. I had the Spanish Skillet with a side of grits, effectively satisfying my southern needs and my love of spicy foods. It was wonderful.
My wife chose a very traditional breakfast of eggs, bacon, link sausage, homemade fried potatoes with a side of grits. Add an English muffin and orange marmalade and she was happy as a lark.
The menu is filled with delectable choices or you can just order your favorite fare. When a menu item has an Argentina or Spanish influence an image of the flag of the appropriate country will alert you.
If you are in the NSB area I highly recommend the Wake Up Café. In fact, you don’t even have to be in the area. You can do like we did and simply decide to go. Make a day trip out of it and see the sights of New Smyrna and New Smyrna Beach. Maybe even take a stroll or a swim at the beach. Regardless of what you do, the highlight will be your breakfast or brunch, or both if you plan it right, at the Wake Up Café.
Location: 749 East Third Avenue, New Smyrna Beach, FL 32169 - Indian River Village Shopping Center